Searching for the Moon

Shannon Clark's rambles and conversations on food, geeks, San Francisco and occasionally economics

Archive for August, 2002

80937393

Posted by shannonclark on August 30, 2002

Entering a new trade

Well, as of Tuesday I will start a new business venture – of sorts. On Tuesday my company starts listing diamond rings, diamond earrings, and a few bracelets on eBay. If this initial sale works well, then we will continue selling these and many other items of fine jewelry online.

So, a new trade for me – but hopefully one that will more than pay my bills. Lots of work, and lots of details to work out, but it should also be a fun business to be in – and hopefully a reasonably lucrative one.

We will continue to also sell other interesting items online – from a collection of Playboys (which we are hoping includes the first few years of Playboy – which are the really valuable ones) to sports memorabilia, an electric organ, and scooter parts – we will be selling a bit of everything over the next few weeks and months.

I hope to really gear up to have a lot of great merchandise for the Christmas season – when sales really could pour in.

Anyway – should be a busy fall.

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80892338

Posted by shannonclark on August 29, 2002

Spam or just plain weird

Okay – this takes the cake.

Not sent to me, but to a friend who is on AOL.

Subject: Billybob
Hello,
If you are a Time Traveler from Dimension D1263GT10, year 2008 or Dimension D2044GT5, year 2432 AND OR in possession of the Dimensional Warp Generator wrist watch, the Carbon Copy Replica model #52 4350 series or similar technology I need your help. I need a RELIABLE SOURCE. I would prefer someone with access to teleportation as well as a variety different types of time travel. I will also need temporal displacement. Please send a (SEPARATE) email to me at: MindTransference@aol.com if this applies to you.
KQpZ2drG5tZniYlJRamJWQ==

Yup. Not really “commercial” email – but certainly the oddest piece of mail I’ve seen in over 11 years online.

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80751017

Posted by shannonclark on August 26, 2002

The movies

This weekend I saw two movies, one in the theater, and one on TV (AMC).

In the theater I saw “Who is Cletis Tout?” – not a bad movie, a bit too contrived and trying for more than it achieves, but amusing and enjoyable in a movie buff who loves crime capers manner.

On tv I saw ‘Grand Canyon” which seems to be a movie that divides viewers and reviewers. Looking at the reviews on Amazon of Grand Canyon you see that it is mostly split between 5 stars and 1 star reviews.

I really enjoyed the film, yes perhaps it was a bit sappy in some respects, but I thought that unlike most films it took complex characters and wove a story around them, one that involved black and white characters interacting in a way that was conscious of race but not unrealistic. Some of the reviews approach it as “will make you think that all inner city black young men are thugs, and that to escape required moving to a “white” neighborhood.” This ignores what the film itself shows, not something black or white persay, but a family moving from the inner city of LA to a an area “not so white” as Kevin Klein’s character describes it – an area with whites and blacks living in, but not in perfect harmony.

But it is shown as imperfect harmony in large part due to the character’s own perceptions – the young black man of the family runs away from a group of youths (apparently hispanic) who approach him – one who comments “where did he come from, Beruit?”, in his running he is then flagged down by two white police officers – but though flagged down, he is later shown brought back to his mom’s house, where he then stomps off in a rage.

Not a simple picture, but a layered one, and one that clearly would have be very beautiful to see and hear on a large screen.

Perhaps I am a sucker of long, complex films that feel as if they have real characters, debth, and subtle touches – all elements that are rare in films of any era, or perhaps I am not well tuned as the many critics who seemingly panned this movie as toughly as any film can be panned (on the bottom of one critics all time worst films list!).

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80740947

Posted by shannonclark on August 26, 2002

One of my favorite places

or the story of the Korean Restaurant, named…. “Korean Restaurant”

For many years, probably going on 10 now, one of my favorite places in Chicago has been a restaurant on Lawerence Ave. that is a 24hr Korean Restaurant. Through countless late nights it has been my solution to “what can I eat for dinner when I am hungry after 11:00pm in Chicago” or more usually “after 3 am”.

However, five months ago they had a fire in their kitchen and closed down.

Perhaps just how traumatic this was for me I did not fully comprehend, certainly I have often over the past four months found myself driving north just to look and see if they had reopened yet, always however being disappointed and having to resort to lesser places, sometimes not Korean places, and often more expensive and not as tasty.

So, this weekend, when I found myself far north having driven a friend home from a potluck lunch that had stretched late into the night, I decided to drive by, on the off chance that they were open.

Surprise.

They were open (or, to quote their banner “We opening 24hr 7 days”) so not the most English language fluent of places, but good food and you can point to your choices on the menu and usually get something very tasty.

The interior was mostly unchanged, the same tables and chairs, but new lamps and new artwork on the walls. The menus were new, most of their old dishes, but reordered on the menu, some new dishes (at least new on the English language translations – for all I know they may have always been on the menu but untranslated), and some new dishes are served slightly differently.

I went back for dinner again Sunday night, I’ll probably return a few times more this week. Feels very good to have a piece of Chicago that I had feared lost returned.

This week is my week for the past returning, a contact called me today whom I had thought was no longer at his firm, not only is the small project I had started for him possibly going to be finished (and my company paid), but he had at least one small additional project for me to work on – a very good kind of past returning.

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80638239

Posted by shannonclark on August 23, 2002

More calls

or how some lucky telemarketer was my wake up call this morning

So, there I was, hovering in that stage of the morning where you are not still asleep, but neither have you gotten out of the bed and even the effort of hitting the buttons on the alarm clock to change from an alarm to the radio was about all you can think about.

There I was, then the phone rang.

I was expecting a call, it was just about 8:00am, and I was meeting a co-worker around 8:45 to drive to client for a meeting this morning.

Still groggy, I answered the phone “hello”

“Would you like the hear about MCI’s new phone plan “The neighborhood”?”

Yup. A telemarketer at 8:00am in the morning.

It was Friday, but still, imagine if it had been Monday?

I was not overly polite (but was reasonably) in my “nope, not interested” and hung up. At least they did identify themselves as being from MCI.

Still, it was a first for me – I’m basically in my condo only when sleeping, or about to sleep – I tend to get home around 10:00-11:00pm most nights (not all of which is straight from work) and I tend to leave the house around 9:00-10am in the morning (the perk of owning your own firm – setting your own hours) – so in general I am not there in “peak” telemarketing times, and not having caller id (why would I bother since I am never home to use it) I don’t see who has called but not left a message.

So, this morning I was wakened by the telemarker.

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80596946

Posted by shannonclark on August 22, 2002

The saga of random call

or how I never seem to be who is being called when I answer the phone…

My phone at home has rang six times in the past four days when I was there to answer it.

Not once was it call for me.

This morning, I was running late to work, having had a week of being at the office until after midnight, and as I was showering and getting dressed, the phone rang twice.

Both times, in the way that only telemarkers can, right when answering the phone was not overly convient.

Both calls were for a different person – not one who has ever had my number. A Mr. Peterson and a “Steven Clark”.

I should note here, I have had the same home phone number for over SEVEN years, you would think I would be the only person still listed anywhere with that number.

Sunday however, was worse.

Then I was in the midst of having a relaxing morning, relaxing that is until the phone started to ring.

The first time it was just a wrong number, a telemarkter of some form called and asked for Mr or Mrs something, something not even close to my last name. He seemed indignant and annoyed when I said “no one ever here by that name”.

Finally I hung up, and steped back into the kitchen to continue making my lunch.

The phone rang again. Same guy, asking for the same people but in a slightly different manner – this time he questioned me about whether I was sure that these people could not have had the number before me – I said very definitely no no way at all, I have had this number foa very long time.

Hung up the phone.

The phone rang again (with only a second or two between calls).

It was him, yet again. This time he in fact said “this is getting annoying isn’t it?”

Yes it was, I assured him, he said “its the computer’s fault” and I hung up again.

The phone rang AGAIN!

Yes, it was him, once again.

This time I asked him very directly “What company are you with and how do I contact you?” – two questions any telemarker MUST answer by law.

He refused, claiming that it was against his company’s rules for him to do that.

I said, “well in that case, I will be filing a police report when we get off the phone”, and I hung up again.

Silence.

Golden silence, not another phone call from him.

So, one victory I guess.

I did call 311 (Chicago’s non-emergancy police line), but after being told that the wait time to file a report was 24 minutes, I decided that however satisfying it would be it was not worth wasting that much time on the phone indoors when it was a wonderful summer’s day outside.

So, I gave up on making lunch, left the house, went to a local cafe, got a bagel sandwich, and met a new friend who was there reading poems by woman authors and writing in her journal – so a very good start to the afternoon.

Then I left that cafe to go to another just up the street where I was to meet a friend to go watch the Air and Water show with. He was running late, so I sat and did some reading. The woman I had briefly chatted with in the other cafe then entered this new cafe as well, I said hello again while she was waiting for her drink – they made it hot instead of cold so she got two drinks for the price of one. We kept on talking enough that she decided to pull up a chair next to mine and we talked until my friend arrive (half an hour late).

After he arrived the three of us went and watched the Air and Water show – all in all a truly great afternoon.

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80463511

Posted by shannonclark on August 20, 2002

Busy week

Okay, tomorrow – if I am really good – I have a breakfast meeting to start my day – a presentation on the state of Venture Capital.

Then, in the evening, to bracket my day I am meeting with a PR person who has offered to help me publicize an event I am organizing for a business networking group (Ryze Mixer in Chicago). We will probably meet first at my office then walk over to the venue to meet with the bar’s owner.

Later still I will probably meet with a business partner and discuss ongoing business matters.

Somehow, amongst all this “business” meetings and talks, I also have one very major business proposal to write, one not as large (but possibly equally remunitive) proposal to write, a project to finish, and countless other minor tasks to complete – all tomorrow mostly.

And in my personal life – I want to write my fiction (yeah that’ll happen…) and I need to run many sundry errands to start working on my to do list (see my post from a week back about that…).

Ah life.

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80434954

Posted by shannonclark on August 19, 2002

Poetry and motion

This weekend was a fairly quiet one, but oddly productive and mostly enjoyable.

Saturday evening I spent the first part of the evening in Wicker Park, but the independant coffeeshops there all close around midnight, so I found myself back at my usual Starbucks (which stays open until 2:00am now – used to be 3:00am and for a very brief time 24 hrs!).

I sat there, read some, and then I actually wrote a bit – two poems as a matter of fact. The first poems I have written in a very long time. So, here they are, for better or worse – probably in need of some further editing (but my poems seem to lose energy and my interest as I try to edit them – guess they either work or don’t).

I’m writting at the moment in a very cool leather bound, gold trimmed “executive” notebook that I was given by a vendor for attending a lunch meeting/sales presentation – so cool I actually took an extra so I would have at least one refill (the refills in the future will be $12/ea, but since it is just so cool feeling and functional for me.. may be well worth the slight indulgance)

No titles as of yet.

See me there, yes picture me
sitting, in the window.
A regular, I get the best seats
Coffee at the ready.
Music blaring to a beat only I hear.
Notebook at the ready.
Books pilled up.
I am not a student.
They come and go, saying hello.
I study.
Yes, picture me there and
you will know of the
quiet nights, the long mornings,
the notebooks full but unread, unshared.
Picture me on a cool summer’s night
the full moon hovering above the neon
of the city outside.

And then a bit later, I wrote this

Tonight is a night for lovers.

He entered, slightly lost, keys
dangling from his back pocket.

Alone and tired he settled into
the big chair by the silent fireplace.

She entered, circled and from
behind grabbed him.

Awakened, he motioned her to the lip of the fireplace.
They proceed to kiss.

Minutes later, they rested shoulder
to shoulder, unaware as the
couples, two by two, were inspired
around them.

Smiling deeply, with hand held
they skipped out into the
evening.

A night for lovers,
not for me.

So, two poems more than I have written in a while, but nothing further on my novel – which I really should be writing, and though I had a great weekend in other respects (met a new friend on Sunday, and then hung out and watched the Air and Water show – well just the Air part – for the afternoon with her and an old friend of mine – all in all a good way to pass an afternoon. Then spent the evening in heated philosophical debate with my old friend – all good enjoyable ways to spend a day.)

Hopefully this week will be both enjoyable and productive in my writing and my work (and my reading – been trying to catch up with the pile of unread books at my house, which seems to only be getting bigger as the summer goes on – finished an issue of Granta this weekend – Salmon Rushdie, Richard Ford, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and more all in the same issue – very cool issue, and lots of great stories and essays.)

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80337486

Posted by shannonclark on August 16, 2002

The lights

no camera and no action, sorry

In 15 minutes my office will be dark. No power to anything.

Thankfully I have friends with webservers – so my systems will keep on humming (getting mail, serving up webpages, serving up auction images) but I will have no phone and can not work in the space I pay rent to work in (no lights…)

Somewhat annoying.

Further, we’ve spent over 10 hours on the phone these past few days trying to get Ameritech’s DSL to work with my server (Linux server – how uncommon can this possibly be???)

What’s annoying is that when we are connected through the linux server we are neither fully down nor fully up – instead, parts of the web can reach us and parts cannot, and similiarly I can get to some web pages (but not others) – in fact I was able to get to some pages of a google search results, but not all pages… very strange and very annoying.

Technically this is all because Ameritech is using “PPPoE” a very stupid protocal that does nothing good (basically though they argue this point), but does one very very bad thing – it changes how the building blocks of communication between computers work in a way that not all servers and not all routers can handle cleanly (to be more previse it adds a few bits to the packets, making the content portions a bit smaller… causing some systems to just seemingly drop all traffic…)

So, the lights will go shortly – and there will be no action, when, much later tonight the lights come back I will still not have the action I am looking for (okay – that’s suggestive, probably too much so…) – so a long weekend and week ahead of me.

I may spend the weekend organizing Playboy’s (selling off a collection of them for a collector on eBay – all 1970’s and 60’s in this batch)

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80295507

Posted by shannonclark on August 15, 2002

Power, take 3

Or How I get to Enjoy ComEd’s Service

While out to grab a quick sandwich this afternoon, I stopped by the alleyway next to my office. It was blocked by two ComEd trucks working in the middle of alley.

Two weeks ago they suddenly cut the power to my offices, shutting my company down for the evening (no phones, no email, no website, no images on eBay auctions or this journal).

Now, it seems, they were preparing to have a repeat of two weeks ago. Without any notice to anyone in my building, they were going to shut the power to my building at 6:00pm tomorrow.

I have lots of calls into various ComEd folks (no response yet however).

We’ve now moved my servers to an out of the office server – which is an annoying process.

What really annoys me is how easily they were going to just shut the power off without telling anyone.

Last time, we discovered that none of the emergancy lights in my building work!

This time, at least, I will have all of my computers shut down and will be ready to go. However I am not happy at all about this enforced work stoppage, nor am I thrilled with the prospect of returning to my office for the THIRD Friday in a row to work on networking/connectivity issues…

Oh well, the joys of being a business owner.

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